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Egypt urges abiding by AU resolutions on reaching binding deal on GERD

The Egyptian ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation emphasized the need to reach a binding legal agreement on the filling and operation of Ethiopia’s Renaissance dam as per resolutions adopted during the relevant meetings of the African Union Bureau.

This came during a meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on Tuesday to discuss how to revive their talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), taking into account the water interests of all parties, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

The Sudanese side called for holding several meetings over a period of one week to complete the compilation and revision of the draft agreement, which the three parties started working on during their last round of talks, and discuss the best ways to run the upcoming negotiations.

The meeting was chaired by the foreign minister of South Africa, in the presence of representatives of the African Union Bureau, the European Union and the United States as observers.

President of South Africa and African Union, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, announcedو Monday, that new negotiations round on GERD will resume on Tuesday with the participation of all three countries of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

He added in a statement that the talks resumption after 7-month break under the auspices of the African Union is evidence of the strong political will and commitment of the three countries to reach a fair solution for the Renaissance Dam.

He also indicated that the resumption affirms the confidence of the parties in the African-led negotiation process, in line with the Pan-African principle of African solutions to African problems.

Sudanese Minister of Irrigation Yasser Abbas said in a message to the South African Minister of International Cooperation, that his country will take part in the new round of GERD negotiations; however, Sudan refuse to keep negotiating the same way in previous talks which led to a ‘dead end’.

According to Sudan News Agency (SUNA) Abbas affirmed that Tuesday meeting will aim at reaching new methods and approaches of negotiations on the dam based on granting experts and observers more effective role in order to achieve real and more advanced results and bringing countries’ point of views closer.

The final results of the meeting will be provided to the three countries leaders to approve the new negotiations approach and announce a tight timetable.

Since 2014, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have entered into negotiations on the building of the dam to avoid any possible threats on the Nile downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan]. The latest round of talks, which convened early June, reached a stalemate, and was followed by the Ethiopian unilateral act of deciding to fill the dam’s reservoir mid-July without reaching a final agreement with Egypt and Sudan.

Egypt previously decided to request the United Nations Security Council’s intervention in the dispute on Ethiopia’s massive dam, after Egypt had said several times that the two countries have reached a deadlock.

The conflict between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement, while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. In October 2019, Egypt blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these disputes, they have to ask for mediation.

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